Governor signs CFT-sponsored bills calling for districts to negotiate with unions
Community college districts will be compelled to negotiate what CFT-sponsored legislation calls “reemployment preference for part-time, temporary faculty.” The landmark provisions require districts to negotiate with the union in order to receive significant funding available from the state Student Success and Support Program.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the two bills on September 30: AB 1690, carried by former part-time instructor Jose Medina, D-Riverside, and SB 1379, by former teacher Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia.
What is “reemployment preference”?
Because part-time faculty in the California community colleges are defined in the state Education Code as “temporary,” they are not guaranteed any form of reemployment at the end of each academic term’s teaching assignment. However, many part-time faculty are in practice “reemployed” by colleges and districts where they have previously taught, frequently teaching two or more academic terms per year over many years.
Reemployment preference refers to rights earned by part-time faculty to be reemployed or offered an assignment by a college or district before other part-time faculty who have not yet earned those rights. Such rights are sometimes called “rehire rights” or “the right of first refusal.”
How will this law help part-time faculty?
Part-time faculty without any locally bargained “reemployment rights” have no ability to predict their future employment at institutions they may have taught at for decades and are effectively “at will” employees. Some but far from all California community colleges have established, through collective bargaining, some form of reemployment rights for part-time faculty. These range from a straight seniority list, with individual faculty ranked and then rehired according to length of service, to “pools” or levels of reemployment preference in which all members have achieved some minimum length of service. In this latter scenario, all members of a given pool or level have equal reemployment rights.
This law will require districts seeking state Student Success and Support Program funds to establish “minimum standards” for reemployment rights that include: length of time taught at the college or district; number of courses taught there; professional evaluations; and “availability, willingness, and expertise” of individuals to teach specific classes or accept specific assignments.
Will this affect my job? If so, when?
The law stipulates that in order to receive SSSP funds, any district without a collective bargaining agreement for part-time instructors in effect as of January 1 must begin good faith bargaining by July 1 with those instructors’ exclusive representative to establish a system of reemployment rights. Any district with a collective bargaining agreement is required to establish such a system “as part of the usual and customary negotiations between the district and the exclusive representative for part-time, temporary faculty.” Thus, negotiated changes will occur at varying times over the next several years.
What kind of reemployment can I count on in the future?
Because of the governor’s preference for local control of legislation implementation, we’re likely to see variations in the form reemployment rights take throughout the state. Changes where you work will depend on what local unions and districts are willing and able to negotiate on behalf of part-time faculty.
How can I strengthen reemployment rights where I work?
Because this legislation requires local bargaining by the exclusive representative of part-time faculty, you should communicate directly with your union leaders. Joinin discussions about this legislation, asking questions and adding your thoughts at union meetings and gatherings. Encourage your colleagues to do the same.
— By Linda Sneed, CFT Vice President and member of Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2279
Update on administration’s attempt to destroy the “preferred consideration” system for assignment of classes by seniority:
On December 8, 2017, AdFac and the district were to appear before an arbitrator to decide what Article 6 of our contract means. The union believes it means that if you are preferred consideration, you shall receive “priority” consideration (in seniority order) for your request for classes for the next semester/trimester. The administration is now claiming that this right is not subject to the grievance system of the contract. Thus, if a dean or chair did not assign classes by seniority order, the union would have no recourse. Not much of a right if its implementation is optional.
Three weeks prior to the arbitration hearing, the district informed the arbitrator that its star witness, former Vice Chancellor Jeff Horsley, now retired, would be on a cruise on December 8 and thus unavailable, even though, when this date was set up in October, the administration’s lawyers agreed to the December date. So the hearing is now set for the 9th of February. The union’s lawyer did manage to get the arbitrator to rule that the late cancellation fee would be paid completely by the district! (Usually all arbitration fees are split 50-50).
Thus, the administration continues to drag its feet on settling this issue.
Your AdFac Bargaining Team met with the district, under the auspices of a state- appointed mediator, on December 15. The session lasted from 9:30 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening! Kent Stevenson, Manjit Grewall, and Denny Konshak were there the entire time, with Tonya Cobb, Catherine Whitsett, and Pete Christenson participating at various times. The outcome: absolutely no progress. The administration remains adamant that part-time faculty do not deserve real re-hire rights and they persist in wanting to destroy the current “preferred consideration” seniority system by making it optional (that is, the Dean or Chair could assign classes by seniority or they could decide not to, their choice, and the union would have no way to enforce any compliance). Your team has rejected these administration positions and will continue to fight for YOU!
The next step in the process is to go to “fact finding” where a state-appointed factfinder takes testimony from both sides and determines the “facts” in a published report. Once the report is published (probably some time in Spring 2018), the union will need your help in lobbying North Orange’s Board of Trustees. Stay tuned!
On December 11, 2017, PERB filed a complaint against the district, claiming it had “failed and refused to meet and negotiate in good faith with” AdFac, largely based on the administration’s regressive bargaining – that is, when one side makes an offer, they can not “retreat” from that position, but must attempt to move closer to the other side. In this case, the administration had originally had, as one example, 2 ways to lose your “preferred consideration” assignment priority due to clerical miscues, but in a subsequent proposal upped that to 9 ways. AdFac informed the administration that these actions were regressive and then filed with PERB, who has confirmed that such actions would be illegal. Now the administration will get its day in court. In addition, the PERB complaint addressed the administration’s penchant for arriving late for pre-arranged negotiating sessions, noting “bargaining unit members arrived late on many occasions to negotiating sessions.” The worst occasion was when administration arrived 52 minutes late, as AdFac sat and waited. These actions “interfered with the rights of bargaining unit employees” and violates Government Code section 3543.5 (a) and (b) since it makes it difficult for AdFac to properly represent YOU.
AdFac helps fight food insecurity with donations to our Colleges’ Food Banks
As Fullerton and Cypress College students juggle life, work and school activities, they still are making a contribution to the community.
Last Fall, Fullerton College’s Business Management Department helped facilitate a student-managed food drive. In support of the College Food Bank’s mission to foster a healthy college community, business students donated 350+ pounds of dry and canned goods in just 10 days. The mission of the FC Chris Lamm & Toni DuBois-Walker Memorial Food Bank is to foster a healthy college community by providing food to students and their families who are in need. They hope to alleviate hunger and provide access to quality and nutritious food.
A similar mission is a priority at Cypress College, as well.
Check out both food banks:
Fullerton College: Building 1955, 321 E. Chapman Ave., Open Tuesdays 12-2 pm and 4-6 pm. email@example.com and visit the food bank on Facebook.
Cypress College: Student Activities Office, 9200 Valley View St., Open Mondays & Thursdays 6am-8pm; Tuesdays & Wednesdays 8am-7pm; Fridays 8am-4pm. firstname.lastname@example.org & visit Facebook.
To support the Food Banks, donate non-perishable, sealed food items with clear expirations printed on the label. Most needed items: canned goods, peanut butter, pasta, cereal, granola bars.
As the semester or trimester winds down, your union reminds all adjunct faculty to contact the Employment Development Department of the State of California at 800/300-5616 as soon as you have administered your last final exam.
Tell them you have been laid off (unfortunately, you have, EVEN if your name is in the printed Fall class schedule since “your” class might not fill or a full-time faculty might take it to fill their basic load).
Tell the caseworker you want to apply for unemployment compensation. If you are not otherwise working, you should be able to draw checks every week until the semester/trimester begins. The caseworker will need the name and address of your employer/college district and may ask you, when you mention you are a teacher, if you have “reasonable assurance of continued employment.” The answer is NO. (Full-time teachers do, but part-time faculty do NOT.) And you are not “on recess” (for K-12 teachers only).
If necessary, mention the CERVISI decision (a community college part-time teacher who was denied unemployment, appealed and won). The decision is codified in EDD Field Directive 89-55UI (in case they give you a really hard time!) Of course, if the caseworker you initially talk to is obstreperous, you can always hang up, call back and start the process all over again with someone who is more knowledgeable.
We are looking for union-friendly AdFac members who enjoy meeting and talking with adjuncts about our union so that we can increase our local’s membership.
Unions are organizations of workers who join so they will have greater influence in determining their wages, hours, and other working conditions. We believe there is strength in numbers. Unions are best able to represent workers when members are strong and unified. But unions are only as strong as their members’ involvement.
Historically, unions have fought for and won many benefits that most Americans enjoy today, such as an eight-hour work day and minimum wage. AdFac’s accomplishments include: raises, additional steps, preferred consideration, bonuses, medical premium reimbursement.
We are offering compensation to recruit new members for our union. This is a great opportunity to earn extra income. Please contact us if you’d like to get involved.
Friday, Sept. 22, marked the date for AdFac’s annual “Back-2-School party.” About 60 part-timers and guests enjoyed a few hours of fun and camaraderie at the Fullerton Elks Lodge hosted by your union, Adjunct Faculty United. Part-timers were greeted by AdFac Executive Board members and President Kent Stevenson, who brought everyone up to date on union activities.
Among the attendees were Dr. JoAnna Schilling, Cypress College President; and Trustee Ed Lopez. Also attending were Tina Johanssen, former President of United Faculty; and her husband, Dimitri.
Representatives Erika and Janet from SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union offered information about the credit union and raffled off a gift certificate.
Jason Swanson of Aava Dental gave away grocery bags with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Aava also donated an electric toothbrush (won by Miriam Henan).
Fullerton and Cypress College adjunct Billy Arcila provided classical guitar throughout the event.
Guests enjoyed appetizers, drinks and cake and opportunities to meet and greet.
Your AdFac negotiations team met with the district on June 27, 2017, at district headquarters in Anaheim. Negotiations had been moving slowly forward prior to this, but once AdFac began talking about re-employment rights (under the new state law), the district began dragging their feet. The district claims that our present Article 6 (with “preferred consideration”) satisfies the entirety of the new state law. AdFac pointed out that the law requires “policies” for termination, which is not at all addressed in our old Article 6 (except where it says “this does not create any guarantee, right, or entitlement of the Unit Member to assignment or employment” in 6.3.5). The district insists this is a re-employment right under the state law! That is, according to the district, there is no re-employment right. Your negotiation team finds this completely unacceptable.
During the previous meeting on June 19, 2017, the district introduced their “revised” proposal on Re-Employment Rights, which they presented after forcing the union team to wait in the conference room for 52 minutes before the district showed up. (This pattern of the district being regularly tardy by 15 to 30 minutes shows disrespect for members of our team who were volunteering their time from other summer jobs in order to be there.) The district’s revised proposal on re-employment rights was a disaster: They made at least 10 different aspects of their prior proposal more difficult, including adding more time before you reach “preferred consideration” status, lowering the number of courses you have “preferred consideration” for, and adding at least 9 different new ways you could lose your “preferred” status, all the while not addressing the termination-of-employment issue. But to show their largesse, the district did go through Article 6 and changed all references to “preferred consideration” to “Re-Employment Preference.” AdFac considers the proposal to be regressive bargaining, which is illegal under state law, making the district guilty of “bad faith” bargaining. The union will be filing a complaint on this issue with the Public Employment Relations Board.
Your negotiations team indicated to the district that the union will NOT accept this regressive proposal. Your team strongly believes our part-time faculty deserve REAL re-employment rights: If you are doing a good job (no bad evaluations) and the work is there, you should be re-hired. The union continues to insist that one test of whether or not you have real re-hire rights is that you cannot be fired for minor transgressions of district rules such as, a department chair emailing part-time faculty the Sunday before the semester began, that if your syllabus is not in to the chair before the first day of classes the next Monday, you wouldn’t be re-hired. Obviously, this does NOT mean you may ignore the paperwork requirements of your job – but the district needs to be reasonable about what constitutes a fire-able offense. Part-time faculty, after years of service to the district, deserve the respect of reasonable policies for termination.
So AdFac will be filing impasse papers with the state. Next comes the appointment of a mediator to try to get us to resolve the open issues. Then finally union and district would go before a factfinder. In the meantime, all aspects of the negotiations are held in abeyance until final settlement. These processes will take months, but your team believes that part-time faculty need to make a strong stand on principle. Together we can overcome!
Your Negotiations Team trying to make your life better